November 23, 2020

Common Descent

Common Descent, an utterly charming and fascinating podcast hosted by paleontologists David Moscato and Will Harris, recently posted their 100th episode. The topic? The origin of life on Earth. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly at 6:20 PM PST - 2 comments

It's Official

The G.S.A. Administrator Has Told Biden the Administration Is Ready to Begin the Transition. Read the letter.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 4:26 PM PST - 1727 comments

We need to talk about Gerald

Molly Flanagan met Gerald about three years ago, during one of her visits to Oakland’s Morcom Rose Garden, a miniature valley tucked off Grand Avenue where volunteer gardeners tend beds of flowers blooming among giant oaks and redwoods. She described him as a “magnificent individual,” alternately friendly and stoic. Gerald, a wild turkey of the Meleagris gallopavo species, would occasionally puff up his chest and display his feathers in her presence. Flanagan said she never felt intimidated. She watched him saunter about the garden and sometimes stand near her in line for one of the casual carpools that pick up passengers on Oakland Avenue. Gerald had become such a regular neighborhood presence that Flanagan considered him a member of her community. But something changed in the winter of 2019: the bird’s once-friendly relationship with people turned hostile.
[more inside]
posted by Lexica at 2:36 PM PST - 38 comments

Handkerchief flirting codes of the far future

Behold! There is no one: How might one update Victorian flirting codes? Janelle Shane (previously) to the rescue, teaching a neural network how to send and decode naughty signals "with fans, parasols, gloves, and handkerchiefs." [more inside]
posted by doctornemo at 2:05 PM PST - 8 comments

A Love Letter to Colonialism

Bret Deveraux critiques Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’s sanitisation of history, including Viking colonialism, slave trading, gender roles, and its continuation of the Fremen Mirage trope. “It blushes at showing the player anything like the reality of this historical period and in the process constructs a deceptive apology for colonialism. It is a decently fun, but deeply irresponsible game.” [more inside]
posted by adrianhon at 2:04 PM PST - 24 comments

IT’S A ~V~I~B~E~

“Chasing Light” (2020 “calming multisensory experience” for Moog)
“Star Gazing” (2020 music video)
warm winter alone (2018 experiment)
All by Emily A. Sprague, who also records folkish indy rock as Florist
posted by Going To Maine at 1:49 PM PST - 6 comments

"Can You Hear Me?" is waiting for you to discover on Netflix

If "Trailer Park Boys" briefly transported you to a slice of Nova Scotia and "Letterkenny" did similar with a version of rural Ontario, get on board with "Can You Hear Me?" for a trip to Quebec. I cannot think of anything I've seen recently that seems so real, in terms of friendships among women. I just made it to the end of the first season (2 seasons available on Netflix) and I'm scared to keep watching. I'd greatly appreciate recommendations for similar if you've seen this series and share my deep appreciation for it.
posted by elkevelvet at 11:12 AM PST - 13 comments

My kingdom for a mason jar!

"[T]here may be no better barometer of the state of our economy than the mason jar." Mason jars have been difficult to find this year, leading to counterfeits, fights on social media and price gouging. Here's a history of how the iconic mason jar was invented, and the factors that lead to a shortage about once per decade.
posted by rednikki at 10:38 AM PST - 62 comments

Judith Jarvis Thomson

The philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson (1929-2020) has died. She was a philosophical giant. You may know her from her landmark 1971 paper in defense of abortion or for one of her papers on the trolley problem. Or maybe you know the 1997 amicus brief on assisted suicide she co-authored with Dworkin, Nagel, Nozick, Rawls, and Scanlon. [more inside]
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:21 AM PST - 17 comments

¡Sí Se Puede!

As Americans begin preparation for Thanksgiving, United Farm Workers takes to twitter to show people how their favorite components of their Thanksgiving meal are harvested. Parsley - Cranberries - Brussels sprouts - Squash - Turnips - Onions - Apples- Sweet potatoes - Celery - Garlic - and more
posted by ChuraChura at 6:46 AM PST - 19 comments

"In the year of my greatest harvest, I had many hopes"

"In 2012, back when I was young and the world was a different place, I planted a plum tree in my back yard." A funny, loving, bittersweet story of one woman's fruit tree, with reflections on mortality and gardening. "There was one memorable year when the lectionary had the story of Jesus and the fig tree and no fewer than three pastors of my acquaintance asked my permission to use my bitter, hopeless plum journey as a sermon inspiration. Oh pastors, consider this permission to use anything I put on my blog in your sermons."
posted by brainwane at 6:15 AM PST - 12 comments

Some holiday love for the Annus Horribilis.

Little Big, a comedy singing group from Russia, who had a very promising entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest (which got cancelled because of You Know What), have released a holiday song and video. Actually, it's an anthem for all that is 2020. (WARNING: Ever-So-NSFW. Seriously.)
posted by JanetLand at 5:44 AM PST - 16 comments

We have to be here at the end

Maralinga testing was the first contact with the world of the white man for Nyarri Morgan, a young man in the late 1950s. Imagine just walking along in your ancestral lands and hey, boom - atomic bomb! Now represented in VR immersive video, his experience will live on as a part of the collective memory. Found on Reddit TIL. FREE bonus links (YT): Contemporary British Movietone Reel telling us how jolly good it was / Australian Atomic Confessions (full documentary) / Living with the legacy of British Nuclear testing: Bobby Brown / Maralinga, Midnight Oil.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:19 AM PST - 3 comments

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